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You generally don't want to be the first opponent a team faces right after they've fired their coach. There can sometimes be a burst of effort and focus that accompanies the change in regime as players attempt to impress the new guy or shake off the guilt of getting the old guy canned.
So of course it was the Caps facing off against the Leafs the day after Toronto announced they'd let Randy Carlyle go.
But if the Leafs got any sort of boost from the coaching change, it was quickly put down by a strong road game from the visiting Caps, who were clearly prepared for what the Leafs were going to throw at them and were able to ride some timely offense, ongoing excellence in net and an overall solid team effort to a big two points on the road.
Check back right here shortly for our full recap, but first, Wednesday night's Plus/Minus:
- Plus: Secondary scoring. Seeing Eric Fehr get a couple of tallies was nice, but not all that surprising considering how hot his hands have been of late. Seeing Marcus Johansson match him goal for goal, however, was pretty fun - and perhaps a sign that his hands are getting a bit toasty, too.
- Minus: First-period shots... or lack thereof. The Leafs give up the second-most shots per game, behind only Buffalo, and took the ice tonight reeling after their head coach was given the boot and their best player got into a spat with a reporter. So for the Caps to fire only four shots on Jonathan Bernier in the game's opening twenty was not exactly what you'd look for from a road team looking to take the hometown team - and crowd - out of it early.
And now, this...
So the Caps take a big two points away from a team they're battling for a playoff spot, and continue their road dominance that has fueled them all season. Next up? A Division matchup against the Philadelphia Flyers, the first of the season - and a big test for this Caps team that has struggled in the second of back-to-back games.